Category Archives: nature

Up the Volcano

Chickens roam the aisle, having burst
from their basket, but it’s only a problem when
we stop to let more people on.
The driver pulls us rounds tight curves
blasts his horn at slower traffic
squeezes between them
and a sheer drop onto smoking fields.

It’s 1983 and we are climbing Etna the hard way
in a local bus. Someone is praying in a low voice and
there’s nothing to hold onto except each other
and perhaps God. Certainly not the chickens
who squawk at every bump and swerve.
Three villages later we get to the hotel.
It is empty, embraced by a tall curve of still glowing lava.
Hailing a battered Landrover, we pay its owner to take us further
see the bus turn to descend to Catania once more.

Up once more, at a steadier pace, until the driver stops.
We walk over hot ground, to a raised snake of rock
which we climb, until I realise it is a lava tunnel and dangerous.
As we climb down you pause to take a photo
and the mouth of the volcano explodes.
Our terrified driver flings his vehicle around
we chase after him, get in, race down
past the deserted hotel
down further to find the bus in a village.

We sigh with relief at the safety of the bus,
Enter, find seats together. A chicken pops onto my lap
You stroke her gently and
a goat puts her head in yours.

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Memories of a long ago trip up an erupting Mount Etna in Sicily.

The other nations of this Earth

The other nations of this Earth live along side us
Misunderstood, undervalued, used and abused
So many of us not longer see them
We fortunate few may wilfully misunderstand
But many see the truth, see the power and strength
Even in a hen, blackbird or crow
Animals are the other nations of this Earth
Caught in the net of time
Travellers with us on this one green globe

Copyright © 2017  Kim Whysall-Hammond

“….the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”
~ Henry Beston

Pico

Dawn breaks the sky
raw light floods island & ocean
All birdsong ceases for just the moment
when day is painted over night
colour returns to us
a breeze slowly lifts
the sun soars, reaching for this speck of land
in ocean immensity
 
Pico, veiled in high cloud
crenulated by sister cones
looms soft purple & charcoal across the strait
diva of the skies, demanding attention
holding the gaze
stately hot tempered grand dame
always beautiful, subtly threatening

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond

Another poem about the Azores, I must return soon……

Rabbits

Walking the Ridgeway track
in a dripping autumn
rabbits scatter away
lollop towards the grassy mound
of Waylands Smithy
an ancient tomb
haunted by a Norse godsmith
here in troubled England
but I have no horse to shoe today

Simply rabbits to shoo away

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond

This poem was written in response to the Quadrille (44 word poem) prompt over at dverse.

Boundless

The taut freedom of my swimming costume
in choppy ocean swell
water embraces me, breeze strokes
I float in a bath of sunlight

Boundless blue ocean surrounds
as I plunge into its secrets
the only sound the bubbles
of my breathing
in and out of the snorkel

A furious scrum of fishes
contesting over I know not what
eagle rays glide above
Atlantic swell buffets
dolphins sway and swerve
deep below

Copyright © 2016 Kim Whysall-Hammond

And somehow the ocean

Sun glints pierce my eyes
as we hit another wave
rise
slide into the trough
at the apogee
our horizon is limitless
oceanic expanse
seemingly bereft of life
the unharvestable blue
then the cackle of dolphins
arrests our attention
away from the discipline of waves

Snub noses pierce the surface
laughing beeps beckon
closeby then further into the swell
we hesitate and a challenge is issued
repeatedly
until we speed up and run alongside
then within
an enormous crowd
of joyous fellows

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

In the Garden

Many years ago I planted honeysuckle, roses and a vine
at places along a brand new fence.
This year the vine scrambles over my cherry tree
with blousy leaves and pygmy grapes
the honeysuckle scents the air while
wrestling writhing pink roses that are
so well-thorned they defy pruning.
A purple clematis has stretched over
from next doors, keen to join the lively party.
The presence of the fence is implied only by
marked lean as the opulent weight of green abandon
has cracked the posts sundering their hold
upon the rich earth beneath.
It is evident that Nature, if left, grows
and I wonder what else is waiting for a spring
where it might seed again.

Copyright © 2022 Kim Whysall-Hammond